Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tozer on the Cross

I read a lot of A.W. Tozer books in college. I was so impacted by his work that I even did a portion of my senior writing project on his life and ministry. The other day I was reminded of one of my favorite books by him, The Radical Cross. This book is a compilation of things he wrote specifically on the cross of our Christ. I read the book the summer before my senior year in college as I prepared to lead a residence hall of women, and it changed me. It's hard to even pick a section of the book that is most powerful. It's just dripping with wonder and reverence for the cross. Below is the section that I read to my residence hall women at the beginning of the semester. It hits you hard, but sometimes a two by four to the head is what we need to remind us of our need to be awestruck by the cross.

"Though the cross of Christ has been beautified by the poet and the artist, the avid seeker after God is likely to find it the same savage implement of destruction it was in the days of old. The way of the cross is still the pain-wracked path to spiritual power and fruitfulness.

So do not seek to hide from it. Do not accept any easy way. Do not allow yourself to be patted to sleep in a comfortable church, void of power and barren of fruit. Do not paint the cross nor deck it with flowers. Take it for what it, as it is, and you will find it the rugged way to death and life. Let it slay you utterly."

Monday, September 21, 2009

SBTS Panel on the Trinity

Sorry I have been so quiet lately. It has been a hectic few weeks around here with school, work, and church. So the blog has been low priority. Plus I did some writing work for the Seminary that I wanted to point you too. Southern Seminary and CBMW co-sponsored a discussion on gender and the Trinity a few weeks ago. I had the pleasure of the attending and covering the panel for the seminary paper and for Gender Blog. Drs. Bruce Ware and Gregg Allison were the panelists, and Dr. Randy Stinson (President of CBMW and Dean of the School of Church Ministries) moderated. It was an excellent discussion. I was struck again by how clear the Scriptures are in not only the doctrine of the Trinity, but gender roles as well.

You can read my overview of the event here.

And listen to the audio here.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Be Patient With Them All

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”—1 Thessalonians 5:14

I have heard this verse many times, but it was not until I began memorizing it for my biblical counseling class this semester that the words, “be patient with them all” struck me. Why would Paul tell the Thessalonians (and us) to be patient with people in these circumstances?

Notice his commands: admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak. If you have spent any amount of time ministering to people in these situations you will know that there are times where patience is greatly needed. Perhaps you are dealing with a discouraged person who every time you talk to them always seems to dwell on the pain and turmoil. Patience will help draw them to the Father who can (and will) heal the pain. Perhaps you are discipling a weaker sister who consistently battles sin. Patience will help you be a grace bearer to her. Or maybe you have had enough of the roommate who never seems to do anything around the apartment except sleep, eat, and make a mess. Losing control over her idleness and laziness will not spur her on to responsibility. Sometimes these circumstances do provide more opportunity for frustration than patience. But frustration is the opposite of patience. And often this will only exasperate hurting and struggling people.

Here in the middle of a verse on discipleship Paul is discipling us. Even when we are the ones helping, we must understand that we have not arrived spiritually. We need constant reminders to be patient, kind, and compassionate to hurting people. Patience is what will make all of the previous commands stick, because patience is directly at the heart of Jesus. He is always patient with the struggling believer who is stuck in the pit. And he is always patient with us, even when we shake our fists at him.

Often we like to talk about discipleship as a fun and lighthearted endeavor relegated to college ministries and accountability groups. But true discipleship is never easy. Fighting sin with another believer takes work, and more importantly it takes the Holy Spirit. The command to be patient is not something we can do on our own. Have you ever tried to be patient on your own only to be met with your inability? Only Christ can give us the grace to live with our brothers and sisters in grace and understanding. And only Christ can be the true means of change for the idle, fainthearted, and weak.

I am thankful that I am memorizing this verse this semester, primarily because I need to be regularly reminded to be patient. It is a great need in my life. But more importantly, I need a greater heart for the struggling believer, because in reality I am no different than them. May we all learn what it means to be patient with one another, and thus point our brothers and sisters to the most patient One of all—our Christ.